Box Office: A Miserable Showcase for ‘Amsterdam’ and ‘Lyle Lyle’, while ‘Smile’ and ‘The Woman King’ Hold Firm

Talk about the worst to hit before the theaters warm up again for Halloween gigs.

Sony’s Lyle, Lyle Crocodile opened with a low $11.5 million opening, similar to the scenario of Peter Rabbit: The Runaway‘s opening last June. It doesn’t have much pull this time, as did Clifford The Big Red Dog or Paddington in terms of “animated animals interacting with live humans.” Yeah, Tom & Jerry opened under worse conditions in February last year (and grossed slightly more), but many folks who grew up with the animated duo knew what they were getting into. This showcase could be a minor miss for the studio and points to a quiet standard of fewer kid films dropping into theaters. So now we have to wait for Strange World‘s performance near Thanksgiving to dictate the approach for family-friendly features going into 2023. Do all need to become a part of the VOD experience now?

Even worse, Amsterdam tanked with a $6.5 million opening weekend. The comedy thriller, buoyed with immense star power (Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, Taylor Swift, Robert De Niro, Rami Malek, etc.), did not perform up to standards due to inconsistency and contrivances. The short answer for the weekend bomb is period absurdist comedies don’t lighten up the world. The long answer is poor reviews, a long runtime, and Disney didn’t know how to market this one. This is an $80 million budget feature with no real pizazz outside of its cast and another indication that Hollywood cannot repeat the earnings of American Hustle. However, it should be noted that the 2013 feature sold sex, while this one sold a vague murder farce, and that’s it. People don’t casually show up to the movies anymore: they need a reason to embrace such a hook or spectacle (or nostalgia when done correctly).

And not to blame Bale, Robbie, or De Niro since they’re incredible actors/actresses, but unless you’re a Leonardo DiCaprio, Sandra Bullock, or Brad Pitt, you don’t have that tantalizing star power in today’s climate for an original feature. (If it were within a big-budget superhero film or a riding-high franchise, we’d be having a much different conversation). Amsterdam‘s failures will simply point out that any former Fox product (outside of Deadpool, Avatar, and Planet of the Apes) will need to jump straight to Hulu now. Will it break even? At this point, it seems like a foregone conclusion that it will not, especially when Halloween Ends and Black Adam are right around the corner. Sorry to the performers and the alleged conduct on set with the director.

Moving over to the positive side, Smile topped the box office for the second time in a row, dropping 22% in its second weekend. That’s a splendid hold between Jordan Peele’s Get Out (15% drop in 2nd weekend) and John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place (34% drop in 2nd weekend), and another sign that horror is the zeitgeist once Halloween Ends jumps onboard next weekend and Barbarian continues to leg out (23% drop in its 5th weekend). Horror has been one of the few highlights of a draining pandemic time and has kept theaters alive in between blockbusters’ arrivals. The Woman King dropped 23% in its second weekend, showcasing the Oscar-worthy breakout by Viola Davis/Lashana Lynch/John Boyega.

Don’t Worry Darling dropped 50% in its third weekend, positioning it for around $85 million worldwide upon finishing. Avatar earned $2.56 million in weekend three for a domestic cume of $783.8 million. Bros continues to flop, earning $2.15 million in its second weekend. And Top Gun: Maverick is out of the top-10 lists now as it inches to $715 million domestically.

This coming weekend will see the return of Michael Myers in Halloween Ends.

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